Airstrikes and shelling increase casualties day after day since the start of the grand battle of Al-Raqqah – the main stronghold of the “Islamic State” organization in Syria- led by the Syria Democratic Forces in collaboration with the Syrian Elite forces, the US Special Forces and the warplanes of the International Coalition. Such airstrikes which are carried out by the warplanes of the International Coalition aim at paving the way for the ground forces to advance and regain control over more areas, causing more material damages and destruction in the infrastructure of the city, including hospitals, public utilities, residential buildings and houses, in addition to killing more of the civilians who were forced to stay in a city over which the spirt of death hovers daily in the form of missiles, shells, bombs, explosions, clashes, and snipers’ bullets.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights continued to monitor and document the situation in Al-Raqqah city covering battles, advances, attacks and destruction, and the death toll which rose to 117 casualties at least in the city of Al-Raqqah, as documented by the SOHR since the 5th of June 2017 till today the 17th of the same month. The death toll includes 25 children below the age of eighteen and 21 female citizens above eighteen. The airstrikes also left hundreds of citizens injured with varied levels of severity, some of whom had their limbs amputated and suffered permanent disabilities and others are still in critical conditions, which may raise the death toll again. Moreover, dozens of houses and utilities were destroyed as a result of the intensive shelling that targeted the city, its surroundings and outskirts.
The airstrikes of the International Coalition warplanes, the intensive shelling on Al-Raqqah city and its outskirts and the military operations the city witnessed, including the bombardments, bombings and clashes with the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces, which consist of the Syria Democratic Forces, the Syria Elite Force, the US Special Forces supported by the International Coalition warplanes, left at least 142 members of ISIS killed. Local leaders and group commanders are among the dead and information about the death of other members and the injury of dozens were confirmed.
This increase in the number of casualties in the city of Al-Raqqah coincides with the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces’ success in imposing their control over the neighborhoods of Al-Mashlab, Al-Sinaa, Al-Sabahiya, and Al-Romaniya, parts of Al-Jazrah suburb and the Division 17 and the sugar factory, in addition to their entry into the outskirts of Al-Batani neighborhood, east of the city, and Hutteen and Al-Bareed neighborhoods west of the city. Simultaneously, the “Euphrates Wrath” Operation Forces continue their operation that aims at advancing into the eastern parts which are still under the control of ISIS and into the north and the south to put an end to the existence of ISIS in the eastern parts of Al-Raqqah city, and taking full control of the city’s surroundings and its eastern outskirts, in addition to making advances into the west to separate the city from the Division 17 and force ISIS to choose between withdrawing from Division 17 before besieging it or fighting till the end.